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Murdoch's Fox posts profit of $1.3 bn

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Rupert Murdoch's media-entertainment group 21st Century Fox on Tuesday reported a profit of $1.3 billion in its first earnings report as an independent entity.

The company, which holds the high-flying film and television assets of the former News Corp., had revenues of $7.06 billion in the first fiscal quarter ended September 30.

The profit was below most analyst forecasts and down 44 percent from comparable figures a year earlier.

Revenue was up 18 percent from a year earlier and ahead of most projections.

"In our first quarter as 21st Century Fox, we delivered strong revenue increases across all of our businesses," Murdoch, who is chairman and chief executive, said in a statement.

Murdoch said the firm "faced a difficult film comparison and currency headwinds."

The company pointed to results in the film segment lower than a year ago because of the success of last year's "Ice Age: Continental Drift."

The results were also hit by a $139 million charge for consolidation of the German satellite TV firm Sky Deutschland.

Murdoch said the company is making investments in its new FXX channel aimed at younger male viewers and Fox Sports 1 which "will drive future sustained growth" toward his goal of operating earnings of $9 billion by 2016.

Murdoch split his corporate empire into two parts in June under a long-promised plan to "unlock value" by separating high-flying entertainment operations from struggling publishing activities. He remains in charge of both.

The 21st Century Fox group includes the Fox Hollywood studios and television entities, which are showing strong growth than the publishing arm, which includes struggling newspapers. That group is known as the new News Corp.

Fox shares fell 0.32 percent to $33.76 in after-hours trading following the earnings report.

The split of the company, which had some $34 billion in revenues worldwide, was seen partly as a nod to shareholders angered by the damage and costs inflicted by a phone hacking scandal in Britain, and partly because of troubles within the group's publishing arm.

While some analysts see the outlook for publishing as bleak, Murdoch has said he remains committed to his newspaper roots.

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21ST CENTURY FOX

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/131106/murdochs-fox-posts-profit-13-bn